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John R. Sutter

by Susan J. Ainsworth
November 17, 2014 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 92, Issue 46

John R. Sutter, 84, a professor emeritus of chemistry at Howard University, died on June 10 in Washington, D.C.

Born in Edwardsville, Ill., Sutter received an A.B. from Washington University in St. Louis in 1951. After serving in the Army Medical Corps in Japan and South Korea, he earned an M.S. in 1956 and a Ph.D. in 1959, both in chemistry from Tulane University.

After spending a year as a postdoctoral fellow at Washington State University, Sutter became an assistant professor at Louisiana Polytechnic Institute (now Louisiana Tech University) in Ruston.

He joined Howard University as an assistant professor in 1962, helping to develop its then-new Ph.D. program.

In his research, Sutter focused on the microsecond kinetics of multistep redox reactions involving permanganate ions. He also studied the monomer-dimer equilibriums of molecules such as porphyrins.

For many years, Sutter was dedicated to serving as chair of the chemistry department’s graduate education committee. He retired in 1999.

Sutter was a member of the American Physical Society and Alpha Chi Sigma and an emeritus member of ACS, joining in 1952.

He enjoyed tinkering with his British-built Austin-Healey and MG automobiles.

Sutter’s wife, Joan, died in 2012. He is survived by his sons, Christopher, John, and Timothy, and four grandchildren.

Obituary notices of no more than 300 words may be sent to Susan J. Ainsworth at and should include an educational and professional history.


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